Caroline Manzo declined to comment on that part of her family's past in a telephone interview. But she owned up to the parallels between her clan and New Jersey's first famous family.
"We are Italian Americans and you will see some similarities -- a love of family tradition, saying what's on our minds," she said. "But the similarities stop there."
The family ties on "The Real Housewives" don't stop with Caroline and Dina Manzo. Jacqueline Laurita, a former cosmetologist turned full-time stay-at-home-mom, is married to the Manzos' brother, Chris.
But Laurita doesn't quite fit into the "Sopranos" oeuvre. Having only recently left her hometown of Las Vegas to settle in New Jersey, she's still learning the ways of the queen bee and second-in-command. Like Margene Heffman, the third wife on HBO's "Big Love," Laurita's a little green, always upbeat and conflict-shy, which becomes clear when she tries to bring a new member into her Manzo-dominated circle.
Admittedly, it's a stretch. But if only because you can't help but laugh at her, Jersey native Teresa Giudice's TV character equivalent is Lucille Ball circa "I Love Lucy." Teaching her three young daughters how to be "fabulous" while augmenting her family's massive mansion isn't all Giudice does – she's also launching a line of hair accessories called TGfabulicious.
The other housewives admit Giudice is their comic relief, and how could they not? In the first episode, she talks about wanting to get breast implants, despite the fact that her husband "is more of an a** guy and he loves my bubbies." (Yes, "bubbies.")